Former unit commander of the Namibian Police Drug Law Enforcement Unit Freddy Basson was found not guilty and acquitted on drug theft charges in the Windhoek Magistrate’s Court this week.
On Tuesday, magistrate Linus Samunzala said the State failed to present strong evidence to prove their case against Basson, thus finding him not guilty, and acquitted him.
Basson was charged with theft of exhibits from the drug unit’s safe.
The items he allegedly stole are cocaine, valued at N$1 million; two video cameras, valued at N$9 000, and cash of N$21 650.
He was arrested on 13 January 2014 and released on bail of N$40 000 in February 2014. Speaking to New Era yesterday, Basson said the case, which started in 2014, turned his life upside down, and has tainted his reputation. “I am happy that the truth finally came out. But my good image has been tainted. I am now seen as a thief and an officer who was corrupt,” said Basson.
He said he went through a disciplinary hearing and was placed on suspension from 2014 to 2015.
He was reinstated after his case was provisionally withdrawn by the court after it was postponed several times to finalise investigations. Basson was then removed as unit commander of the Namibian Police Drug Law Enforcement Unit and got appointed as a staff officer to the Khomas crime investigations coordinator’s office.
“To me, it did not make sense why I would be appointed to that position if they were accusing me of stealing exhibits. If you are saying I am a thief – and you have lost faith in me, why would you appoint me to deal with cases again?” questioned Basson.
He said he worked as a staff officer for four years, and went on early retirement in April 2020.
Basson said, before being accused of theft, he has been with the Drug Law Enforcement Unit for 23 years.
He explained that during his tenure, there have never been any complaints of mishandling of exhibits.
“I really loved my job, and I was fully dedicated to it. I cannot tell you if it was jealousy or what? But to date, I do not understand how I was accused of stealing drugs and money that were later found,” said Basson.
He said he is enjoying his retirement and happy not to be in a toxic place.